Dwyane Wade owns more than 400 pairs of socks. He has boxes and chests and cases of them. You get the idea. The guy’s a sock nut.
What’s his favorite pair of the collection? He can’t pick just one, but near the top of the rotation is a tubular duo featuring pictures of basketball Hall of Famer and cultural icon Bill Walton. The print on the socks is of Walton during his days with the Portland Trail Blazers and it does Walton proud. That red beard was far out, man, and so are the socks in his honor.
“It’s Bill Walton on socks,” Wade said. “I mean, come on.”
Walton was one of a kind and Wade likes to fashion himself as a bit of a revolutionary when it comes to style.
On Thursday night in the Design District, Wade will host his second annual “Night on the RunWade,” a fashion show presented by Neiman Marcus Coral Gables and watch manufacturer Hublot that will promote Wade’s colorful sensibility.
It’s a charity event to benefit the Wade’s World Foundation, but it’s also a coming out party of sorts for Wade, who has launched himself socks first into the fashion industry by turning a hobby into something more.
Wade will be wearing an audacious pair of socks on Thursday night at The Moore Building, but they won’t be his trusty Waltons. Capturing the momentum of the Heat’s success while also capitalizing on his own public image as a fashion entrepreneur, Wade now has his own sock collection with designer sock company Stance, which is the maker of those fashionable NBA throwbacks. Stance’s designers and Wade have been working together for about a year and his socks are set to hit stores in mid-October.
But Wade isn’t stopping at socks, of course.
In November, he and The Tie Bar, a neckwear company, will launch “The Gentleman Collection by Dwyane Wade,” which will feature about 40 different bowtie designs as well as other men’s fashion accessories. A generation ago, Michael Jordan tapped into the shoe market and launched an empire. A lot has changed about the branding of the NBA since then, and Wade’s bold fashion sense — classy, sophisticated and independent — has helped establish the league’s new image.
Now he wants to make some money off it.
“The best things are unplanned,” Wade said. “It just started from liking to dress. For me it was just always having fun with it and looking nice and taking chances, but to get to the point of being known for fashion and then one day have my own line, I never could have imagined that.”
Don’t let Wade’s modesty fool you, of course. He’s a smart businessman with a team of smart people behind him. First by ditching Jordan Brand for Li-Ning and now with the brightly patterned socks and ties, Wade has crafted an image based upon individuality.
“The funniest thing is saying I wanted to do these things and then to actually have them come true,” said Wade, whose fashion sense has been praised by President Barack Obama and others. “Right now, I’m trying to build my brand and my fashion brand.”
Of course, there’s a caveat to all of this, and that’s Wade’s knee. In other words, it would really help Wade the budding fashion mogul grow his brand if Wade the basketball player cooperated with the plans, dominated on the court, won a third title in a row and, in the process, convinced teammate LeBron James to stay in Miami. Wade, James and Chris Bosh can opt out of their contracts after this year and those clauses in their contracts will dominate the buzz around the Heat this season.
“It’s a big year for me and I want to make sure I left no question in my mind,” Wade told the Miami Herald on Tuesday night. “When I’m healthy, I want to feel and play at my best.”
He’s already apparently a little on edge about the season, or maybe just ready to get started.
About an hour after his interview with the Herald, Wade got into a social-media tiff with Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant started the fun during an interview with Noah Coslov on CineSport.com.
Coslov asked Durant who was missing from the top 10 player rankings by SI.com’s NBA blog, “Point Forward.” Durant said James Harden was missing and that Harden should take Wade’s place. (Wade was eighth, ahead of fellow shooting guards Kobe Bryant [ninth] and Harden [11th]).
Wade caught wind of Durant’s perceived disrespect and crafted his reply on a piece of paper, making sure to note the date “9-24-13.” He then posted the message on Instagram: “Kevin Durant said James Harden should replace me in the Top 10 …Note to self * Make him respect your place in history … again …” Wade and the Heat defeated Durant and the Thunder in five games in the 2012 NBA Finals.
Wade will get his chance as history teacher Jan. 29 when the Heat plays the Thunder at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Wade expects the knee to be 100 percent by then, but it might not be completely ready for the start of the season. He’ll ease himself into training camp beginning Tuesday after having OssaTron shock wave therapy on his knee this summer. Wade played with two deep bone bruises on his knee during the 2013 playoffs but fought through the discomfort to help lead the Heat to back-to-back titles. The OssaTron treatment was to increase blood flow and simulate healing.
Wade rested for a month after the treatment and then began working out with Tim Grover, one his go-to personal trainers. By the looks of pictures Wade has posted of himself on Instagram, he has heeded the advice offered by Pat Riley and will report to camp thinner than last year. On Tuesday, Wade said he’s not worried about his “weight or anything like that.”
“For me, it’s about I play my best when I’m pain free,” he said. “I’m better than I expected at this point, but I’m not where I want to be either.”